The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Homeland Security

Onus on Blair to secure the return of Camp X-Ray prisoners

IRNA

London, Nov. 20, IRNA - Prime Minister Tony Blair was under pressure 
during his talks with President George W. Bush Thursday to secure the 
return of nine British Muslims held illegally by the US among over 650
foreign prisoners at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay. 
Britain`s two opposition leaders indicated that Bush would view 
any official request from Blair favourably after meeting the US 
president during his visit to London on Wednesday. 
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said that he had "made 
clear to the President our disquiet over the continued detention of 
British citizens, without charge and without trial, at Guantanamo 
Bay." 
"In response, Mr Bush said that the issue was now before the 
Supreme Court, but that if Tony Blair were unhappy with its ruling he 
could say so directly to the US administration and the British 
detainees would be sent back to this country to be dealt with under 
our judicial system," he said. 
"The onus, and the opportunity, is now for the British Government 
to make that case. I hope the Prime Minister will do so," Kennedy said
in a statement. 
Britain`s new Conservative leader Michael Howard also suggested 
that the US may send the nine Britons home to the UK for trial after 
talks with the president. 
"Returning the British prisoners is an option they are considering
and it may be what they end up doing," he said in an interview with 
BBC Breakfast news programme. 
Accompanying Bush, US Secretary of State Colin Powell also told 
the BBC that the US president was "very sensitive to the views of the 
Prime Minister and the British people" over the detainees, adding 
that the issue was expected to be resolved "in the near future." 
British Muslims have been leading a campaign for more than a year,
calling for the repatriation of the prisoners, but reports have 
suggested that Home Secretary David Blunkett is opposed to the move 
because of doubts of securing convictions. 
The UK government`s concern is believed to centre on the lack of 
evidence to put them on trial in the UK and the embarrassment it would
cause if they were released without charges after being held for 
nearly two years outside US jurisdiction. 
HC/215 
End 



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list